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ICSURO will study the decontaminating capacity of water using recycled corks

The Institut Català del Suro Foundation (ICSuro) is one of the 17 partners from the 8 Mediterranean countries of the project SURENEXUS coordinated by the UNESCO Chair of Sustainability at the UPC funded under the PRIMA call, "Taking advantage of knowledge about the management of the water-energy Nexus. -Food resources-ecosystems in the Mediterranean region: from concepts to practical solutions". NEXUS' approach is to produce healthy and sufficient food with fewer resources (water, soil, energy and nutrients) through regenerative and precision agriculture that includes permaculture practices and with minimal impact on the environment. However, local/regional sustainable development should be combined with biodiversity conservation and land degradation mitigation. The project establishes four pilots of innovative, promising small-scale solutions and evaluates their productivity and value to the local community, driving technology acceptance and mindset change. The pilots are located in the different participating countries and are as follows: pilot in the vineyard and cellar (Catalonia, Spain); sustainable tourism pilot (Tinoa, Greece); Citrus digital precision agriculture pilot (Kenitra, Morocco) and Agrovoltaic pilot combining renewable energy and sustainable agriculture (Emek HaMaayanot, Israel).

The contribution of ICSuro

ICSuro participates in all SureNexus work packages, sharing its experience in nature based solutions (solutions based on nature) and bioeconomy practices made with cork. ICSuro is working on the vineyard and winery pilot, since this is betting on a wetland built as a tertiary water treatment system, where cork acts as a filtering and decontaminating material. In this sense and, within the framework of the project LIFE ECORKWASTE, cork was used as a wetland substrate for the treatment of water derived from winemaking, taking advantage of its properties as an adsorbent. According to the results obtained, it was verified that cork is a good adsorbent of both heavy metals and pesticides, becoming a good alternative as a substrate for wetlands. Although the material was presented as a good substrate, there were still some aspects to improve that ICSURO will investigate in the course of the SURENEXUS project.

In addition, ICSURO will carry out a study on the use of recycled corks as mulch. Mulching protects the soil and returns nutrients to it as it decomposes. The basis of this technique focuses on creating a microclimate around the plant that is fully or partially controlled to protect the crop from adverse conditions.

The ICSURO foundation's research will form part of the SURENEXUS pilot in Catalonia and are fully aligned with the NEXUS objectives.